ST. CHARLES – St. Charles East surged to five touchdowns in a 9:22 span Friday, securing a win against Streamwood and playoff eligibility.
So what if the Saints erupted in the third quarter, 24 minutes after their initial expectation?
Trailing the winless Sabres at halftime, East recovered for a 42-27 victory by effectively stealing Streamwood’s strategy to open the Upstate Eight Conference River Division game: Capitalize on mistakes and always be confident.
“Deep down, we knew that we were going to pull it out,” Saints senior linebacker Jon Finn said. “Yeah, it doesn’t look good when they’re scoring on us like that, and sometimes you get down, but we just stuck together as a team and the seniors really got fired up.”
Missing several regulars to injury, East (5-2, 3-1 UEC River) scored 35 unanswered third-quarter points to subdue Streamwood (0-7, 0-4) and its upstart bid.
A series of penalties and turnovers helped the Sabres stick around, but the Saints started the long exhaling process after grabbing a 42-14 lead after three quarters.
Mitch Munroe started the burst by returning the second half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
“We all picked up the energy after that,” Munroe said. “We all were like, ‘Hey, we can’t play like we did in the first half. We have to play well.’ ”
The Saints grabbed their first lead on a 5-yard scoring pass from Jimmy Mitchell 2:35 later and didn’t look back, swelling their advantage behind a Streamwood fumble and a blocked punt.
Per IHSA online archives, East has surrendered seven or fewer points eight times and won all 14 meetings against Streamwood since 1996. The schools did not play from 2001 to 2004.
Friday’s game returned to familiar tracks much later than the Saints and their senior night crowd anticipated. Mistakes marred a first half after which East trailed, 14-7, as the opening kickoff rolled out of bounds and the Saints defense was called for encroachment before one second even ticked off the clock.
Mitchell threw two interceptions in his first four pass attempts and was relieved for classmate Mitch Dupuis for a series in the second quarter. Dupuis later shuttled into the game in short yardage situations. Mitchell passed for three touchdowns while Dupuis ran for two.
Regardless of who was under center, East sputtered at the start except for its lone scoring drive, a two-play push that culminated with Mitchell’s 66-yard pass to Brannon Barry. Barry snagged a short pass and raced up the left sideline after making a quick series of moves.
It seemingly was supposed to be that effortless the whole night. Streamwood was coming off a 55-6 loss at St. Charles North, its fourth defeat of at least 42 points this season.
East visits conference-leading Batavia next week knowing any extended lull isn’t advised.
“Sloppy is an understatement,” Saints coach Mike Fields said. “Obviously, we’ll take it and we’re happy with the win, but we’ve got to play a heck of a lot better. We’ve got the Bulldogs next week, and I don’t know if we were thinking past them or no school today. I could come up with all the excuses in the world, all I know is we came out flat in the first half, and Streamwood came out, they had heart and passion. We didn’t. So we need to fix a lot of things, and we will.”
ST. CHARLES EAST 42, STREAMWOOD 27
STR 7 7 0 13 – 27 STCE 7 0 35 0 – 42
HOW THEY SCORED
FIRST QUARTER STR – Segar 17 pass from Polich (Imeri kick), 0:57 STCE – Barry 66 pass from Mitchell (Anderson kick), 0:17SECOND QUARTER STR – Tatone 4 pass from Polich (Imeri kick), 8:16THIRD QUARTER STCE - Munroe 90 kickoff return (Anderson kick), 11:44 STCE – Lopez 5 pass from Mitchell (Anderson kick), 9:09 STCE – Anderson 21 pass from Mitchell (Anderson kick), 6:46 STCE – Dupuis 3 run (Anderson kick), 4:56 STCE – Dupuis 4 run (Anderson kick), 2:38FOURTH QUARTER STR – Polich 13 run (Imeri kick), 11:54 STR – Segar 29 pass from Polic (kick failed), 7:28
RUSHING – Streamwood: Brown 19-100, Tatone 3-14, Roberts 4-14. M. Polich 14-3. Totals: 40-131. St. Charles East: Lopez 15-60, Mitchell 10-23, Dupuis 8-22, Barry 3-19, Anderson 2-4, Munroe 2-2. Totals: 40-130.PASSING – Streamwood: M. Polich 10-24-153-3-2. St. Charles East: Mitchell 10-16-206-3-2. Dupuis 3-5-19-0-1.RECEIVING – Streamwood: N. Polich 4-78, Segar 1-70, Tatone 1-4, Brown 2-1. St. Charles East: Barry 8-181, Lopez 2-26, Hopper 1-18, Munroe 2-0.Total offense: St. Charles East 355, Streamwood 284Sophomore game: St. Charles East 55, Streamwood 6